Dubai's best road trips

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Sometimes city living can take it out of you. You can try to relax on the (rather crowded) beach, or book yourself a (pricey) spa treatment, but nothing quite recharges the batteries like a change of scenery. Most of us have motors – at last count Dubai has a car ownership rate of 541 cars per 1,000 population, higher than New York and London). The roads are also safer – fatalities have dropped by 21 per cent, from 495 to 391, since last year, with traffic accidents falling 25.5 per cent from 5,034 to 3,773. So now there’s no excuse for avoiding the highway.

We’ve rounded up 10 different UAE routes you can easily manage in a day, whether for the scenery along the way or whatever’s waiting for you at your final destination. We’ve also included suggestions for some further afield for those able to add in a plane fare. Right, we’re off to see new road movie Due Date to get in the mood…

Destination: Al Ain

Journey time from Dubai: An hour and a half – it’s 140km away.

Why do it? To drive to the top of Jebel Hafeet, one of the UAE’s highest points at 1,240m above sea level. Renowned as the best road trip in the UAE (the best in the world by some!), the route through Jebel Hafeet (which translates as ‘welcoming mountain’ in Arabic) offers sweeping views across both the Omani and UAE borders – as well as slightly cooler temperatures than down below. You can also enjoy the Green Mubazarrah, a lush area at the base of the mountain that boasts genuine hot springs, earning Al Ain its nickname as ‘the Garden City’. These begin beneath the mountain and, over thousands of years, have developed into pools in which you can bathe. The nearby Ain Al Faydah picnic resorts boasts a boating lake, gardens and chalets. Across town you’ll find the Al Ain Zoo and Wildlife Park (www.awpr.ae), with a large selection of animals (including rare white lions), large enclosures and golf buggies to take you around if you wish.

Best for: Animal lovers, and those who lust after green landscape and good views.

Directions: From Dubai, take the Al Ain Road (aka Route 66). Head in the direction of Al Ain’s town centre, towards Sanaiya, Sanaiya West and Meziad, then follow the signs to Jebel Hafeet. The road continues up the mountain for 12km. At the top you’ll find the Mercure Hotel (+9713 783 8888, www.mercure.com). For the zoo, once in Al Ain City, follow the signs to the Al Ain Wildlife Park & Resort, aka AWPR (www.awpr.ae).

Tip: Get there before 5pm, or it will be dark before you reach the top.

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By Becky Lucas
Time Out Dubai,

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